The government has categorically denied existence of any joint venture agreement (JVA) between public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and French defence major Dassault Aviation under the Rafale fighter jets deal.
“Due to the inability of the government to conclude negotiations and sign the contract, there was no such agreement between Dassault Aviation and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or any other Public Sector Undertaking,” the government informed the Parliament on Monday.
The minister of state for defence, Subhash Bhamre while replying to a question in Lok Sabha by Congress MP Vivek K. Tankha said, “The quantum of offsets in the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale fighter jets is 50 per cent, which includes investments in terms of Transfer of Technology (ToT) for manufacture and maintenance of eligible products and services.”
“The current offsets policy of the Defence Procurement permits the vendors to provide details of their Indian Offset Partners (IOP) either at the time of seeking offset credits or one year prior to discharge of offset obligations. Vendor/Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) is free to select his Indian Offset Partner,” Bhamre added.
In another question on whether it is a fact that the previous government had negotiated a $10.2 billion deal for the 126 jets whereas the current regime finalised purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft for $8.7 billion without the provision of transfer of technology, Bhamre said, “It had not been possible to finalise the terms and condition for acquiring 126 aircraft even after protracted process from the period of issue of a Request for Proposal (RFP) in 2007 to unsuccessful commercial negotiations up to 2014.”
“Further, there was only license manufacturing involved for 108 aircrafts for manufacture in India. As such, the terms and conditions between the earlier exercise to procure 126 aircraft and procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft in direct fly-away condition including cost per aircraft cannot be compared. Further, acquiring Transfer of Technology (ToT) for only 36 aircraft would not have been cost effective,” he contended.